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Breast feeding cuts infant mortality by 10 per cent: AIIMS

Breast feeding can help bring down infant mortality rate in the country by nearly 10 per cent, experts at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi said on Friday. AIIMS is observing breast feeding awareness week.

According to National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-06), India has an infant mortality rate of 57 per 1000 live births and an under-five mortality rate of 74.3.

“Major causes of infant mortality are pneumonia and diarrhoea that are very much preventable. Breast feeding protects the infants against the diseases and also boosts their immune system,” said Dr Vinod Paul, head of paediatrics department at AIIMS.

“What we are missing are life-saving interventions at the policy level,” Dr Vinod Paul said. “Women are surrounded by myths on the issue of breast feeding. The fact being that six months of necessary breast feeding is a natural boon for any mother and child.”

Dr Ramesh Agarwal, associate professor of paediatrics at AIIMS, said, “We want to tell people at the community level and at a personal forum that breast-fed children are never malnourished. They have strong immunity to fight diseases.”

“When a pregnant woman comes to the centre, we have to deal with a host of issues. This includes informing her that breast feeding is not going to harm her, and it is a necessity under all circumstances. We investigate her health completely,” Dr Vinod Paul explained. [Source: IANS]

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